Peace OR War; One of Them Should be pursued
Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen
Afghan writer and political Analyst based in Kabul
Some of the media employees and analysts were jabbering names of the ten members of the Taliban, it would be their own analysis or the government would have disclosed some of the names; however, a lot of the people were came to believe that the representatives of the Taliban would participate in the upcoming quadrilateral meeting on peace which was going to be hold in Islamabad in the first two weeks of the March.
Most of the senior officials and politicians became more confident after the media reported about the participation of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the Supreme leader of the Taliban or that he has permitted his representatives to participate in the upcoming quadrilateral meeting.
It is thought that the Taliban did not want to say anything in this regard, because they would have had secret meetings with China and Pakistan; China and Pakistan were confident that the Taliban would not participate in these meetings. Although, after Pakistan exceeded the line, and made remarks about fictional, fooling meetings on peace and made the folks to become confident the Taliban would participate in this meeting; the Taliban, then, became obligated to publish such a statement.
Heavy Political Strike
The Taliban stroke the Pakistani government and Kabul badly, as President Ghani gave a speech in the sixth year of 16th term’s opening ceremony of the Afghan Parliament and the upcoming quadrilateral meeting and the Taliban’s participation in it is considered as an only false achievement of Ghani. Although, the Taliban published their statement in a very exquisite time and denied their participation; however, they once again repeated their demands and said that they are not ready to negotiate with the Afghan officials until the foreign forces are stayed in the country, their names are remained in the blacklist and their prisoners are being tortured.
Kabul and Islamabad are well-aware of that the Taliban does not participate in such meetings; however, it is said that the Afghan government would have provided Islamabad with names of the ten important members of the Taliban and would have asked the Taliban leaders to participate in meeting. There are possible things, and impossible things; and it seems that this demand of the Afghan government tried to make the possible, impossible.
Now, the government of Kabul would blame the Taliban for peace talks, it would said that we were ready for negotiations but the Taliban does not want peace; in the case, the government, itself, paved the way for this job. The Taliban has always said that they would not become ready for peace talks as a result of the pressure of Pakistan or any other foreign party, and the peace talks convened under the foreign pressure would not have Afghani results.
Before the involved sides enter the face-to-face talks, they should work on trust-building, initial talks and agenda; however, the Afghan government jumps to the roof without ladder.
Pakistan is the main player, and the time would prove it; Pakistan receives privilege on the name of peace, when it receives privileges, as it has it, it will, once again, ask for delay and procrastination of the peace talks.
Peace Talks and Privileges received by Pakistan
Pakistan has strategic negotiations with America every year; this time, asking for F-16 Jet Aircrafts by Pakistan and controlling the Pakistani nuclear weapons by America were at the head of the agenda of this year’s negotiations.
Pakistan has initiated the fooling game of quadrilateral meetings on peace in order to remove the concerns of the American congressmen/women and receive F-16 Jet Aircrafts from America and receive privileges from them.
The Afghan government, through this, wants to mislead the people in order to cover their failures from the nation and the politicians.
Ghani wants to have the Karzai’s game repeated, which is frightening the Northern Coalition by the Taliban, and the reality is the same, also. The Northern Coalition thinks that Ghani has secret relations with the Taliban and he wants to bring them to the government.
The U.S ties with the Northern Coalition seem to be deteriorated; perhaps, deep changes would be brought in the Afghan government; it is also possible that the quadrilateral meetings would be a joint game of America, the Afghan government and Pakistan.
Sartaj Aziz’s Remarks and their Consequence
Since almost 15 years, Pakistan was accused with supporting and sheltering the Taliban; however, the Pakistan had always denied, and the Taliban were always showing that they are independent, and they are not under the pressure and control of Pakistan. Hence, they inaugurated a special office on peace negotiation in Qatar, which was severely opposed by Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.
Sartaj Aziz, in the United States, said that the Taliban are in Pakistan, their families and leaders are resident there; Pakistan has provided them with medicines and hospitals, and their children with education and their families with security.
It is believed that the Taliban, besides other factors, would have published their official statement on rejecting participation in the quadrilateral meeting due to the remarks of Sartaj Aziz. Hence, the Taliban did not participated in past quadrilateral meetings, so, they were not supposed to participate in this round of talks, either. Although, as Pakistan has done business with the sacrifices of the Taliban as like as it did with the Afghan Jihad and has crossed the line in order to receive more privileges, so the Taliban gave them a heavy political strike, so, Pakistan, then, does not have chance to do more secret deals.
Pakistan may be angry with the Taliban, but the Taliban would tell that Pakistan should not sell the sacrifices of Afghans and deal over the Taliban for its own survival.
Perhaps, remarks of Sartaj Aziz would intensity problems between the civil and military government of Pakistan, as they are already intensified due to the Afghan issue
Peace in Action!
When it comes to peace, speeches and actions should be compared, we hear about peace since 14 years, but we have not seen anything in practice, yet. It is almost 18 months that we hear repeated and important remarks of President Ghani regarding peace that even it is thought that he is committed to peace and peace will come soon, but if we consider it in practice, there is yet to be an improvement, the development is even below 0℅, it is on backwardness. Night raids, singing BSA with America, delayed security agreement with Pakistan, arrival of foreign forces and their deployment in zero grounds, threats and remarks on eliminating the Taliban and receiving weapons from America and Russia are the anti-peace things that Ghani done.
Ghani had meetings with the Taliban before his entrance to Arg (the Afghan Presidential Palace), somehow understanding were made, the Taliban have met the demands, the members of the Qatar Office did it, in the case, now Ashraf Ghani ask about the authority of them.
Kabul was asked not to sign the BSA with America, the Afghan-oriented independent administration would be negotiated and formed in order to work for the upcoming elected and legitimate government, Ghani had agreed, but he did not stand on his promises, there is still time for negotiating the peace means aiming withdrawal of foreign forces and formation of an interim government.
After Ghani's entrance to Arg, a lot of meetings were held with the Taliban, Kabul has changed the concept of made promises and given words.
The main issue is that the Kabul administration does not have unity of position; President Ghani has his own definition of peace, Abdullah, Dostum and Mohaqqeq want peace for protecting their own interests, Ahmad Zia Massoud, the acting governor of Balkh and the Foreign Minister also talk about creating militias.
The several groups in the government are supposed to pursue one policy; they want war or they want peace.
The position of Kabul changes too fast; sometimes, it goes so deep with Pakistan, but sometimes it goes so sincere with India and sometimes with China, it wants to make a different angled triangle whose lines do not cross each other. Ties between Pakistan and India are so deteriorated; the Afghan government should keep its ties with both countries balanced. The ties between India and China are the same.
It, to a large extent, seems that the Taliban has united position regarding peace; it has enlightened its policy clearly in the first and second meetings of the PUGWASH Conference.
Would Pakistan Strike the Taliban?
Pakistan would not strike the Taliban for it has its own obligations, Taliban are powerful than the Afghan government, has most of the Afghan soil in their hands, its ties with India and China are not on the level that would be considered as harmful for Pakistan, also the Taliban have kept balance in their relation with Iran. The most important is that the Taliban have influence in the folks of Pakistan, as well as in its religious parties and figures and also on the both side of the Durand Line.
A member of the Afghan National Security Council (NSC) at the end of a roundtable said me that once Pakistan, during the Taliban régime, had banned wheat on Afghanistan, and they were not allowing them to cross Torkham Port or Chaman Port, the Taliban informed Pakistan that whether you open the ports and let the wheat to Afghanistan, otherwise, we will have to sign a contract regarding wheat with India, then, Pakistan received a great shock.
Pakistan, which receives privileges from the international community on the Taliban, is well aware of the disadvantages of taking distance from the Taliban, it also knows that the Taliban has ties with Iran and Russia that are seeking for an opportunity; therefore, Pakistan would not be able to put as much pressure on the Taliban as much the Afghan government or others think of.
Pakistani Generals became Millionaire due to the Afghan War
The leader of Hizb-i Islami (Arghandiwal) and member of the Protection and Stability Council, Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal said that Pakistani generals became millionaire due to the Afghan war, their interests are in the Afghan war, our war is business for them and Pakistan has gained strategic position due to the Afghan war.
Arghandiwal said that everyone wants peace, but the most important thing is to learn about the factors of war, I do not believe in the current peace policy, the continuation of war male us slaves, weak and needy. I am not confident in quadrilateral meetings, neither I am hopeless; Afghan negotiations under the supervision of the international observers is needed, if the government fails, an interim government, accepted to entire involved sides and having good programs is a better solution, alternative.
Leader of the Afghan government opposition, Dr. Anwar Ul Haq Ahadi said that the government fools the people, it always talks about peace, but it does not do anything in practice, if the Taliban attended the quadrilateral meetings, they would be fruitful; otherwise, they are useless. As America put pressure on Pakistan to make the Taliban to participate in the negotiations, I do not think Pakistan would do this job.
People in the north of the country are called on to fight, the government does not have clear policy regarding the peace, defending the people is government's responsibility, it has army, it has money, but it cannot resist against the Taliban.
Ahadi said that the Taliban are not confident in military deadlock, if the government could defend in the next spring, the Taliban, then, would become ready to sit on the negotiation table.
Mr. Ahadi said that he has met the Taliban, they become satisfied with the interim government but they do not participle in present government; it would be good for a government to become established the Taliban could find themselves in; otherwise, we cannot wait for this failed government for the remaining three years, we want elections.
Briefly, Afghans can work so effectively in the peace process, the foreigners or the neighbors cannot be so effective and persuasive for the entire involved sides, there would be foreign and neighboring friends of Afghans, but as a proverb in Pashto says: cut does not prey mouse for the sake of God.
The unity of Kabul administration's position is must, creating a neutral and third-party group and providing them with power both by the government and the armed opposition in order to take the peace process forward, negotiations and agreement on the interim government which would work for the upcoming legitimate government.
National values should be protected in peace; the peace in which national interests are vulnerable would be considered as a start for the new war.
Presence of foreigner forces is a big obstacle toward peace, declaration and request of the timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces by the Taliban and its acceptance, it is a great opportunity. America should persuade the international community to end the Afghan war with full responsibility, not as the experience of the civil war of late 90s to be repeated, where Russia and America left the Afghan war uncontrolled. Both Americans and Russians did not take responsibility, and as a result of it, the war is still going on. This time, if America also does not take responsibility, it would too hard for the war in Afghanistan to be stopped and for the peace to be brought.
The most important achievement for Ghani is peace, if he lost the chance, the history would write his failed term and the unity government with black, hated words. The Taliban are also supposed to make every kind of attempts for peace. If the war continued, and peace did not maintained and the Taliban did not take initiative of peace in their hand, after advising with the nation, it, then, would be hard for them to be not blamed for their actions. The Afghan peace is in the interest of Afghan nation, American nation, European nation, Taliban, the Afghan government and the neighboring countries. The Afghan nation and the Afghan politicians at home are supposed bring civil pressure on the Taliban, government and international community to become practically ready for peace.
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